In with Poets & Quants, HBS Managing Director of Admissions Dee Leopold revealed that approximately 10 applicants (out of 9,543) forwent the essay last year. Of those, only one was admitted to HBS. By any stretch of the imagination, those are pretty poor odds.
Yes, the HBS MBA admissions essay is ‘optional’, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less critical to your application. This is your opportunity to tell your story in your own words and define your application in your own terms.
Harvard HBS MBA Admission Essay Tips - Vibranture
I hope that this has convinced you that even optional admission essays should be taken very seriously, especially in the hyper-competitive environment of MBA admissions. I would hate to see you miss out on the wonderful opportunities that HBS offers, and I think that writing that admission essay, difficult though it may be, is your best shot for accessing those opportunities. Good luck.